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Sharks in the South is the third chapter of the second book, and the thirteenth chapter overall, of, written by . It was released on December 16th, 2010, after massive delays due to writer's block and MightyBrit's final exams.
|Sharks in the South|
The South Pole
"Sir!" screamed the soldier as he burst into Kanna's dining room. Hakoda spun around instantly, but Katara didn't react. She was too busy trying to clean the blood off of Hydros, who was laid out over the dinner table.
"What is it, soldier?" asked Hakoda.
"There are ships on the horizon, sir. At least six."
"No, sir. Looks like the Cult's finally decided to come after us."
Hakoda's eyes widened and he was silent for a short moment, before he composed himself. "Right then, get all the warriors to the wall. Gather the women and children here. It's central enough, so the cultists won't get here too easily."
"Yes, sir," said the soldier before rushing out.
"Alright, Katara, you're in charge here until I get back..." Hakoda paused for a beat. "And if I don't get back, you get back to the Air Temple..."
"Dad!" interrupted Katara furiously. "You really think I'm going to let you fight on your own?"
"What? No! You can't!" Hakoda yelled back.
"So you think I'm useless without my bending?"
"No, not at all... but... I mean..."
"Ah! You're worse than Sokka! I lived with you two for years, I know how to fight and I can still do my part to help these people!"
"But nothing, Dad! I'm helping and that's that. So, give me a sword and let's go," said Katara, storming out of the house.
Hakoda couldn't help but smile to watch his adult daughter be so brave, then worry took over again and he followed her out.
The rest of the village was already moving. The teary-eyed children were flowing towards Kanna's house led by their anxious mothers. Pakku, who looked older than ever, sat outside of his house on a barrel and gave the people entering his home a terse greeting. Hakoda clapped him on the back affectionately before heading towards the outer wall.
The view from the top of the wall was harrowing. Seven large Fire Nation warships made of dark metal stormed through the snow, bellowing black smoke from their tops, which darkened the entire sky. Large chunks of ice shattered and were shoved aside by the massive metal hulls.
Hakoda's eyes narrowed. "Spears behind the wall! Swords behind that! And get me some archers up here now!" he yelled at his soldiers, who scurried about to follow his orders. Hakoda turned to Katara. "I want you in the back, defending your grandmother's house. No, don't argue with me, Katara. You'll find swords and shields in the main hall. Go!"
Katara knew there was no point in arguing, so she nodded and went to find a sword.
The Water Tribe archers filed into formation around Hakoda. "Fire everything! Bring down as many as you can!" Arrows filled the sky and clattered against the metal ships. Some of the soldiers on the decks fell, but the ships trundled forward, straight towards the walls of the Southern Tribe.
"Get off the wall!" screamed Hakoda as the first of the seven ships crashed into the wall with massive force. Huge chunks of ice from the walls flew into the village and soldiers who didn't get away fast enough crashed to the ground in broken heaps. Hakoda leaped from the wall and rolled on the ground, covering his armor and beard with powder snow.
Soon, the other ships crashed into the walls as well, turning the barricades of the Southern Tribe to rubble. Metal bridges dropped from the ships and dozens of Cultists were visible, ready for battle, inside the darkened holds. Above, on the deck of the leading ship, Shaoshang leaned over the edge and looked down onto the small army he was about to attack.
"The war begins anew today!" Shaoshang snarled through his pointed teeth, raising his hands to the sky. "For our nation, for Sozin, it begins!"
The cultists pumped their fists into the air and repeated their war cry before charging into battle head on. The Water Tribes responded in turn, swords and shields clashed and bursts of flame from the firebenders lit up the snowy sky.
Hakoda charged and forced a spear through a cultist's gut. He looked into the sky, which was full of snow, soot and smoke, and saw the humongous Fire Nation skyship emerge from the black... He cursed aloud and wondered how his soldiers were ever going to win this fight.
Onboard Sokka's Skyship
Suki kept the skyship perfectly hidden by the pillars of smoke that billowed out of the massive ships as Sokka checked his sword. "Everyone know the plan?"
"Yup. Gonna be fun. Let's do this, boss," said Wuoyan, smiling from ear to ear.
"Are you sure I can't help?" asked Liang.
Sokka looked back as he tied a length of rope to the railing around the edge of the ship. "You're my secret weapon, Liang, and you're going to save all of our hides down there, but right now, I need you to wait here and stay hidden."
"Alright, Wu," said Sokka, throwing him a large bedsheet. "Time for your new trick, but be careful."
"Done an' done, boss. But, stop callin' me Wu," Wuoyan complained as he grabbed both ends of the sheet, then leaped off the side of the skyship.
Back on the Ground
"Draw the line, men! Do not let them advance!" yelled Hakoda as he swung his spear, slashing a foe across the face. All around him, Water Tribe soldiers swung their swords and spears in a desperate attempt to keep the cultists away from Kanna's house. While soldiers on both sides fell victim to blades, blasts of flame enveloped the Water Tribe battle lines making obvious holes in their defenses. Screams and yells echoed throughout the place.
Hakoda's eyes widened as he saw hulking komodo rhinos lumber from the Fire Nation ships. "Bato!" he turned around and barked orders at his old friend. "We have to hold this line!"
"Chief!" Bato yelled back, pointing at the armored cultist who managed to sneak up behind Hakoda, who was now aiming his sword for Hakoda's neck. Hakoda spun around, but there wasn't enough time to do anything to stop the blade. He closed his eyes tight, ready for the inevitable.
There was sickening clang of metal on metal and Hakoda opened his eyes to see his attacker unconscious on the ground with a massive dent in his helmet. Next to him, in the snow, lay a familiar metal boomerang.
"What kind of time do you call this?" complained Hakoda as Sokka jumped down from a long rope, which dangled from the skyship above. Suki, resplendent in her full Kyoshi garb, landed the moment after him.
"In the nick of?" asked Sokka with a smile on his face. He drew his sword and grabbed his boomerang off the ground. "Shall we?"
"We shall." Hakoda smiled back at him as father and son charged together into the crowd of cultist soldiers.
At the Rear Lines of the Battle
Katara held her sword tightly in both hands as she watched the line of defenders in front of her. There was a burst of flame that sent two of the soldiers in front of her crashing to the ground and a huge cultist ran through the gap in the defenses, swinging a massive sword.
Katara raised her blade, blocking the first strike. She countered, swinging from the shoulder, but her slash went wide and the big cultist bashed her nose with the hilt of his sword. She crashed to the ground, her face bloodied and bruised, staring into the angry face of her opponent.
His frown suddenly turned to pain as Suki's war fans sliced through his back. She swept her hair out of her face and smiled widely at her sister-in-law. "You do realize you're holding your sword wrong, right?" she said, before bolting off back into the fight.
Katara looked down at her sword and adjusted her grip awkwardly. "Wait! Suki!" she yelled after her, thinking it was probably best to stick by her for this fight.
In the Midst of the Fighting
"It's good to see you, son," said Hakoda, as he stabbed his spear into a cultist's neck.
"You too, Dad. It's been too long," said Sokka as he stood back to back with his father as his sword effortlessly sliced through an enemy's blade and straight into their chest.
"Well, that's your fault, not mine. You're always so busy."
"Yeah, sorry about that. Duck." Hakoda ducked instantly and Sokka's sword swung inches over the top of his head, slashing a foe that was closing in on the two of them. Hakoda responded by stabbing his spear around Sokka and stabbing another incoming foe.
Sokka and his father advanced elegantly with every strike of their weapons breaking them further into enemy lines. There was a yell of command from somewhere in the Fire Nation camp, then a komodo rhino and his rider changed direction and charged both of them, screaming like murder.
"How's your rhino riding?" asked Sokka.
"Rusty. Can you drop the rider?"
"Of course." Sokka chucked his boomerang and it curved beautifully and slammed into the rhino rider, knocking him off his mount. Seconds later, Hakoda vaulted up onto the back of the rhino with his spear and took the reins. Sokka joined him on the rhino's back a couple seconds later after he dispatched another cultist with his sword and caught the returning boomerang.
"So, have I got any grandkids yet?" asked Hakoda, nonchalantly as he charged his mount through a line of cultists.
"Is this really the time, dad?" asked Sokka.
"Well, you never visit and I want to make sure that I'm going to that our family line continues."
"I don't know, dad, it's not something we want to rush into," replied Sokka as he threw his sword through a firebender's chest. Hakoda steered the rhino towards the target and Sokka quickly retrieved his favorite weapon.
Hakoda threw a meaningful look over his shoulder. "You know when Katara fell in love with a monk, I figured it would be her who wouldn't give me grandchildren."
"Can we talk about this later? You know, after all the bad men go away?" asked Sokka as Hakoda aimed the rhino at a group of cultists and charged at full speed, enemy soldiers flew into the air at the impact, but one got stuck on the reins and was dragged along behind. Hakoda steered the rhino again, heading it straight for the icy depths of the ocean before leaping off the rhino into the snow. Sokka gave a thumbs-up to the stuck cultist and backflipped off his stolen mount to land next to his father. The cultist gave one final scream as the rhino fell into the sea with a tremendous splash.
"What's the matter, son? Are you busy or something?"
Sokka laughed as they entered combat again.
Above Shaoshang's Command Ship
Wuoyan let the waves of heat flow out of him and into the sheet that was he was using a parachute. It took all of his concentration to keep the thing airborne and it was very tricky to make it turn properly, but he was doing well. His target was unaware of him and getting closer.
Finally, he was close enough and he swung forward into a two-footed kick, right into Shaoshang's chest. It was a brutal blow that sent the unsuspecting Shaoshang staggering across the deck of the ship he was standing on.
Wuoyan drew his knives and span them aggressively. Shaoshang responded by grabbing one of the metal flagpoles of the ship; it had a pointed end and he swung it around as if it were a spear, ignoring the large triangular flag on one end. They began to circle each other, looking for weak points in the other's defenses.
"Hello, Wu. I see you copied my parachuting trick," drawled Shaoshang.
"Don' call me Wu. You, of all people, 'ave no right!"
"Aw, is somebody missing mummy?"
Wuoyan growled under his breath.
"What about daddy?" snarled Shaoshang, showing his shark teeth. "Don't you miss daddy as well?"
Wuoyan yelled out in anger and charged. Heat burst out of every pore in his body, engulfing him in a blur. His slashed with his knives again and again, but Shaoshang either dodged them or blocked them with his flagpole, laughing and smiling at Wuoyan's every miss.
"Enough!" Shaoshang cried, lashing out with the blunt end of the flagpole and knocking on of Wuoyan's knives out of his hand. It slid across the metal deck and slipped over the side, where it fell into the icy depths below. Wuoyan feinted with his remaining knife, then reached out with his empty hand, grabbing Shaoshang by the face. He cried out in pain at the intense heat that flowed out of Wuoyan's hand.
Shaoshang swung the pole upwards and knocked Wuoyan to the floor. He felt his own face, it was red and sore and he could already feel where the blisters were going to appear. Wuoyan smiled in victory.
"You think you've won? Because of a simple burn, you whelp?" Shaoshang screamed. "Your pathetic excuse for firebending means nothing! I'll show you real firebending!"
Wuoyan's look of victory turned to panic as Shaoshang unleashed a barrage of flames from his mouth, which Wuoyan only barely avoided with a dodge roll. He tossed his final knife, which sunk squarely into Shaoshang's shoulder.
Shaoshang cried out again and unleashed more flames onto the deck of the ship, catching everything on fire. It wasn't long before Wuoyan was trapped up against the railing of the ship surrounded by Shaoshang's flames.
The man with shark's teeth advanced on him. "Your little fight has won you nothing. I have twelve other ships coming; this is the only the first wave. I will wipe every last member of this useless tribe. You should be happy, Wu. This is what you wanted, isn't it?"
"No. Not anymore."
"Then, die as one of them!" Shaoshang let out another burst of flame, directly at Wuoyan, who flipped over the edge of the railing at the last second, into the freezing waters below.
Below, at the Water's Edge
"Cover me, dad!" yelled Sokka as he ran to the water and fished out Wuoyan who was shivering intensely.
"Wuoyan, you alright?"
"W- W- Why did I have to get wet during this plan?" Wuoyan said between his clattering teeth. He hugged his arms rubbing them in an attempt to get warm.
"What did you find out?"
"Twelve more ships. T- T- They're on their way."
Sokka cursed loudly and looked out over the battlefield. The melee was still ongoing with dead soldiers littering both sides. The Water Tribe soldiers were being forced back, retreating towards Kanna's house in the middle of the tribe.
"We have to retreat!" said Sokka.
"What? No!" objected Hakoda.
"We have to, we don't have another choice. They'll kill every last one of us!"
"This is our home, Sokka. I won't just abandon it."
"Home can be anywhere, but our people can't be anyone. They are more important!"
Hakoda looked ready to argue again, but saw the sense in his son's argument, so he stayed silent.
"We can easily fit the entire village on my skyship. We can escape on that."
"We have children and wounded here, Sokka. How do you intend to get them up there?"
"We'll pull them up."
"That'll take time that we don't have."
"Yes, but I have a really big diversion. Alert your men."
Above the Battlefield
Liang waited quietly on the deck of the skyship. He knew his part of the plan. It was whether or not he could do it that worried him. Then, Sokka's boomerang with a blue piece of fabric tied at the end lay on the deck and Liang knew that it was time. He steeled himself, then stood on the deck and made the motions that would help him waterbend.
The armies below watched the icy ocean water ripple, then shake as if an earthquake was rattling away beneath them. Liang brought his hands above his head in a swift motion and screamed in effort as the ocean erupted into pillars of water that put the whole battlefield in disarray. One of the ships capsized as the ocean blasted it, then the pillars turned into waves of cold water that slammed into the Cult of Sozin's troops.
Shaoshang's eyes went wide. "This isn't possible..."
Katara froze behind Suki, dropping her sword in shock. "Someone can still waterbend?"
Sokka, Hakoda and Wuoyan jumped and weaved through the cultists as they were knocked down and aside by the swirling currents of water that covered the battlefield. "Suki! Get everyone on the ship! Now! Before they recover!" yelled Sokka.
Suki immediately beckoned soldiers to follow her up the rope that she and Sokka had used to descend from the skyship. She shimmied up the rope as fast as she could, got to the ship, and then ran around dropping other ropes and ladders. It wasn't long before the entire Southern Water Tribe was frantically climbing to the massive skyship above them.
The water crashed to the ground as Liang collapsed in exhaustion on the deck, but the diversion had done its job and the cultists were in complete disarray. Shaoshang barked orders from the deck of his ship, but his troops were sprawled across the village, knocked over by the unexpected torrent of water.
The soldiers dropped baskets attached to ropes to lift up the members of the tribe that couldn't climb. Hakoda himself loaded Kanna into one of the baskets, along with the still unconscious Hydros.
"No! Don't let them get away!" screamed Shaoshang in anger and desperation. "Stop them! Stop them now!"
A few of the cultists clambered to their feet and tried to climb up the ropes and ladders as well, but the Water Tribe soldiers easily cut them down. Suki ran to the skyship's wheel and the gigantic ship began to trundle away from the battle with all of the surviving Southern Water Tribe members on board. They'd lost the battle and their homes, but at least they were alive.
Katara ran up to Liang, who lay unconscious on the deck and checked to see if he was alright. He had been exhausted by the sheer effort of waterbending so much water and blood dripped out of his nose. She wiped up the blood with her sleeve and looked in wonder at the only person in the world who could practice the art she had devoted her entire life to...
The skyship gained speed and started to sweep away from the land, hidden by the black smoke that lingered in the air. Below them, Shaoshang screamed in anger, cursing them all with his words.
This chapter was met with severe delays due to writer's block and real life getting in the way of more interesting things. Finally, it was released during the Winter Holidays.
This chapter chronicles Shaoshang's all out attack on the Southern Water Tribe and the loss of destruction of the South Pole. The action sequence with Hakoda and Sokka talking as if nothing was going on is based on scenes from the movie 300. Wuoyan's banter with Shaoshang in the fight foreshadows Wuoyan's backstory, which is set to be revealed in the next chapter. Katara attempting to fight despite the loss of her bending will set up the story she shares with Suki this book and also lends important elements to Liang's story. This is the first major war-like conflict shown in Child of Destiny as other conflicts have been duels, so feedback on how the action was handled will be very much appreciated.
Please leave reviews whenever and wherever you can, whether on the talk page or below in the comments.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Child of Destiny Chapters|
Book 1: Fear
The First Airbender - Stolen - Sharks and Sea Serpents - Asylum Seeker - The Swordmaster of Kyoshi Island - Cold Snap - Due North - Better to Have Loved and Lost - Wrath of the Blackened Blade - Water's Fall
Book 2: Anger